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All about Denver, CO
Denver is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 United States census, a 19.22% increase since the 2010 United States census. It is the 19th-most populous city in the United States and the fifth most populous state capital. It is the principal city of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the first city of the Front Range Urban Corridor.
Denver is located in the Southwestern United States, in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Its downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It is named after James W. Denver, a governor of the Kansas Territory. It is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile (5280 feet or 1609.344 meters) above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.
Denver is ranked as a Beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 2,963,821 at the 2020 United States census, making it the 19th most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area. The 12-county Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area had a population of 3,623,560 at the 2020 United States census, making it the 17th most populous U.S. primary statistical area. Denver is the most populous city of the 18-county Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong urban region stretching across two states with a population of 5,055,344 at the 2020 United States Census. Its metropolitan area is the most populous metropolitan area within an 560-mile (900 km) radius and the second most populous city in the Mountain West after Phoenix, Arizona. In 2016, it was named the best place to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
History of Denver, CO
By the terms of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie between the United States and various tribes including the Cheyenne and Arapaho, the United States unilaterally defined and recognized Cheyenne and Arapaho territory as ranging from the North Platte River in present-day Wyoming and Nebraska southward to the Arkansas River in present-day Colorado and Kansas. This definition specifically encompasses the land of modern Metropolitan Denver. However, the discovery in November 1858 of gold in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado (then part of the western Kansas Territory) brought on a gold rush and a consequent flood of white emigration across Cheyenne and Arapaho lands. Colorado territorial officials pressured federal authorities to redefine and reduce the extent of Indian treaty lands.
In the summer of 1858, during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, a group of gold prospectors from Lawrence, Kansas, established Montana City as a mining town on the banks of the South Platte River in what was then western Kansas Territory, on traditional lands of Cheyenne and Arapaho. This was the first historical settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The site faded quickly, however, and by the summer of 1859, it was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold-mining town of Auraria, Georgia) and St. Charles City.
On November 22, 1858, General William Larimer and Captain Jonathan Cox, Esquire, both land speculators from eastern Kansas Territory, placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on the bluff overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria, and on the site of the existing townsite of St. Charles. Larimer named the townsite Denver City to curry favor with Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. Larimer hoped the town’s name would help it be selected as the county seat of Arapaho County but, unbeknownst to him, Governor Denver had already resigned from office. The location was accessible to existing trails and was across the South Platte River from the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The site of these first towns is now occupied by Confluence Park near downtown Denver.
Larimer, along with associates in the St. Charles City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new immigrants. Denver City was a frontier town, with an economy based on servicing local miners with gambling, saloons, livestock, and goods trading. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria. In May 1859, Denver City residents donated 53 lots to the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express in order to secure the region’s first overland wagon route. Offering daily service for “passengers, mail, freight, and gold”, the Express reached Denver on a trail that trimmed westward travel time from twelve days to six. In 1863, Western Union furthered Denver’s dominance of the region by choosing the city for its regional terminus.
Demographics of Denver, CO
As of the 2020 census, the population of the City and County of Denver was 715,522, making it the 19th most populous U.S. city. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2013 population of 2,697,476 and ranked as the 21st most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area, and the larger Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2013 population of 3,277,309 and ranked as the 18th most populous U.S. metropolitan area. Denver is the most populous city within a radius centered in the city and of 550-mile (890 km) magnitude. Denverites is a term used for residents of Denver.
According to the 2020 census, the City and County of Denver contained 715,522 people and 301,501 households. The population density was 3,922.6 inhabitants per square mile (6,312/km2) including the airport. There were 338.341 housing units at an average density of 1,751 per square mile (676/km2). However, the average density throughout most Denver neighborhoods tends to be higher. Without the 80249 zip code (47.3 sq mi, 8,407 residents) near the airport, the average density increases to around 5,470 per square mile. Denver, Colorado, is at the top of the list of 2017 Best Places to Live, according to U.S. News & World Report, landing a place in the top two in terms of affordability and quality of lifestyle.
According to the 2020 United States census, the racial composition of Denver was as follows:
- White: 80.9 (Non-Hispanic Whites: 54.9%)
- Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 29.3%; Mexican Americans made up 24.9% of the city’s population.
- Black or African American: 9.8%
- Asian: 4.1% (0.8% Vietnamese, 0.6% Chinese, 0.5% Indian, 0.3% Korean, 0.3% Japanese, 0.3% Filipino, 0.2% Burmese, 0.1% Cambodian)
- Native American: 1.7%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.2%
- Two or more races: 3.3%
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